One of the biggest aggravations of our day, at least for me, is what is referred to as the “robo” calls. You know, these are the calls that are some sort of scam or sales pitch. “You have been approved for a lower credit card rate…” Well, that’s interesting, Nancy and I don’t use credit cards much, and when we do, we pay off the amount right away. “This is your final notice; your car warranty is about to expire.” Great!!!! I’m glad it is my final notice. That means you won’t be calling anymore, right?! And by the way, I haven’t owned the car you mentioned for about 5 years now. “We have been trying to locate you. You must call the following number to stop legal action from being taken against you.” I’m so sorry you’ve had trouble locating me. But I’ve been living at this same address for over 2 ½ years now.
Most of these “sales” calls are computer generated, meaning it’s a recorded message that prompts you to push buttons to either talk to a live person or to purchase the product they are sure that you need. Some of the calls I get are a computer-generated voice, and poor quality at that. Anyway, I’m guessing many of you get the same kind of calls. I just find them to be so frustrating because they are such a waste of my time.
Recently, I answered the phone at the church with my usual greeting, “Downtown Mitchell, First United Methodist Church. This is Pastor Keith.” There was a bit of a pause, so I was expecting a sales pitch to begin momentarily after the customary, “Hello sir, how are you today.” But instead what I got was, “Hello, you are a real person!” I chuckled out loud and responded with, “Yes, I am a real person.” The individual on the other end went on to say that she had spoken to so many answering machines, that’s what she had expected with this call as well. Actually, she wasn’t selling anything, she was seeking. She was seeking a real person to talk to, she was wanting an actual person to pour her brokenness and hurt out to, she was seeking some sort of person-to-person contact. I’m glad I was the “real person” that she was able to connect with that day.
I believe human touch or contact is becoming more and more important in our world. In our culture of e-mails, video meetings, messages that disappear after so many minutes or seconds, swiping this way or that, in a world in which we spend so much time looking at our hand (or really, what’s in our hand), I believe the connection with a real-live human being is essential and is something so many people are longing for.
If you read the stories of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in our Bible, in many of them you will find Jesus is touching, looking at, asking questions of, speaking directly to, noticing, sensing, reaching out to, stopping by, caring for, etc. people. These are all intentional actions designed to help foster a connection with another human being. This is why Jesus was so well liked…he was a real-live human being with others and he let people know he had time for them.
Today as we each journey through our day completing our to-do lists, etc., may we take the time to connect with at least a couple people we meet. Maybe it’s through a personal greeting, a smile, a gentle touch, really noticing the person, whatever it is, today, let someone know that they matter…and that you’re a real-live human being. This is truly a part of the CARE aspect of our church that we each seek to live out. I believe this is part of what makes a church effective in its ministries – personal connection. You know, maybe I’ll even try talking, engaging with, or praying with one of the real-live robo callers I get today.